HOLBROOK re-emerged as a team capable of going deep into the finals series after a comfortable 38-point victory over Jindera in the elimination final at Walbundrie on Saturday.
The Brookers dominated from the outset to have 13 more scoring shots in their 17.18 (120) to 12.10 (82) win.
Holbrook has battled a crippling injury toll late in the season with several key players including co-coach Jarrod Twitt, Aaron Baker, Brendan Hanckel and Brad Thompson missing in recent weeks.
They made a welcome return on Saturday with Stewart Williams and Sam Nichols the only players missing from the Brookers’ strongest line-up.
While happy to win, Twitt felt the Brookers would have to improve sharply to stay alive in the finals race.
“We certainly need to improve but to win by that margin while not playing anywhere near our best is satisfying,” Twitt said.
“There was some pretty ordinary kicking but we are through to next week which is all that matters.
“A few players have missed a bit of footy of late and will only benefit from the hit-out.
“We emerged unscathed on the injury front with Stew Williams and Sam Nichols to come under consideration this week.”
Livewire Jim Grills was the Brookers’ best after missing their past two matches with polocrosse commitments.
The dangerous small forward was at his electrifying best rotating through the midfield and attack and capped a polished display with five goals.
Grills booted three goals in a spectacular five-minute burst and his form will be crucial to how far the Brookers progress in the finals.
Classy co-coach Brett Doswell was also a vital cog in the Brookers’ midfield working in tandem with ruckman Tom Keogh who dominated the hit-outs.
After struggling to adapt to the Hume league early in the season, Doswell has been in ominous touch in recent weeks and continually pumped the ball inside 50 and ran hard all day.
Hanckel, James Hodges and Daniel McCarthy also impressed for the victors.
Tom Weldon, Brett Wightman and Brett Garland were the Bulldogs’ best.
Weldon enhanced his reputation as one of the premier defenders in the competition after keeping the league’s leading goalkicker, James Breen, to a modest two-goal haul.
The Brookers now face perennial powerhouse Osborne in a cut-throat final on Sunday.
“History says to win grand finals you are going to have to beat Osborne at some stage,” Twitt said.
“It’s going to be a huge test and we realise we are going to have to perform at our best to stay alive.”
Meanwhile, Des Kennedy medallist Garland has taken out Jindera’s best and fairest from coach Josh Walker and Weldon.